“Reflections in Colored Pencil” is a piece that was really supposed to be a bit of a dig at the “powers that be” in the art world.  While colored pencil has really come into its own as a professional art medium in the last decade, to some in the art establishment, it is still looked upon as a child’s medium. I wanted to challenge that idea by creating something that really showed off what colored pencil was capable of. This piece was specifically created for a popular regional show that has very few (less than 2%) colored pencil works in all of the entries accepted (and possibly entered).

“Reflections in Colored Pencil” 

© Amanda Griffey, 2015

I decided this piece needed a wide range of strong color, high detail and would include a bit of a pun, being created in colored pencil, about colored pencil. I also wanted to include a challenging texture/surface to replicate in any media, especially colored pemcil, so I chose glass. I have a fascination with old mason jars, so they seemed like the perfect vessel for the colored pencils. Not only is glass difficult to render by itself, but the refractions of the pencils in the jar would add another layer of difficulty. But I decided to take it a step farther and place the whole set up on a mirror, so I got reflections of all of it as well-hence the title “Reflections in Colored Pencil”.

A close up in progress. 

It took me a while to figure out the lighting and color combinations of the pencils I wanted to include. I played around with the arrangement numerous times and finally set it all up on my front porch with some ambient natural daylight. This was just right.  Then came the black fabric for the background to really make those colors pop. It would have been great to work from the actual still life set up, but because I am limited on space and it was on my porch, and I had 2 young children at the time, I thought it best to just photograph it. I snapped several photos for reference with different compositions, then decided on my favorite from there. 


Then it was a matter of creating. Although this piece was extremely challenging, I genuinely enjoyed it. I love pushing my skills and this was a great exercise of that.  With the level of detail, the range of colors, and the size, I logged approximately 125 hours on the piece, finishing it just in time to get it framed and dropped off to the show. 


While it still hasn’t found it’s forever home, it probably gets more comments and complements than any other piece I have completed to date. 

One of the many reference photos I took.

The reference photo I chose to work from. 

Framed and ready for its forvever home. Until then it has found a place on my studio wall.